Celtic Connections is once again celebrating a bumper year as the 19th festival draws to a close tonight, as attendances reached over 100,000 and gross ticket sales topped £1.1 million for the fifth year running. This was the sixth year that the festival has been supported by its principal sponsor ScottishPower.
Over 18 days in January and February, 2100 artists from around the globe descended on Glasgow. Highlights of the 2012 festival included a poignant tribute to Gerry Rafferty, a celebration of the centenary of Woody Guthrie, a spectacular collaboration between Jack Bruce and Lau, as well as performances by Bruce Hornsby, The Average White Band and Hue & Cry, James Vincent McMorrow and Treacherous Orchestra.
Music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which took place in 20 venues across Glasgow over 18 days in January.
The festival is renowned for its ambitious programme of one-off shows, world exclusive performances and unique collaborative events. The 2012 line-up explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, bringing musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from as far afield as Australia, Greenland, Mexico, Mali, Pakistan, Serbia, Palestine, Senegal, Cuba, as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada.
Celtic Connections continues to have an international appeal and enhance Glasgow’s reputation as a major tourist destination. Fans visited from all corners of the globe to experience the best in traditional, folk, roots, world and indie music, from Australia to the USA and Canada, as well as across Europe and around the UK. The results of an economic impact survey carried out at the 2011 festival revealed that Celtic Connections generated a total of £7.6m of new output to the Glasgow City Council area and £3.1m to Scotland in 2011.
Sold-out shows included Admiral Fallow, Treacherous Orchestra, “Bring it all home” Gerry Rafferty Remembered, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Big Dish, Jack Bruce with Lau, James Vincent McMorrow, ‘Far, Far from Ypres’, Song For Ireland, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Skipinnish, Blazin’ Fiddles and the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions, which is now touring, bringing a dazzling international cast of Celtic and Americana musicians to concert halls across the UK following its sell-out success in Glasgow.
The middle weekend of Celtic Connections also featured a major showcase of Scottish music, with over 180 international music industry delegates in town to sample the cream of Scottish musical talent performing as part of Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections. The largest gathering of the international music community in Scotland, Showcase Scotland provides acts with the opportunity to perform in front of promoters, record labels and agents from over 20 different countries. The exposure that artists gain can lead to record deals and overseas touring contracts, promoting Scottish music and artists to new audiences around the world.
The Celtic Connections Education Programme celebrated a successful 15th year, with high profile festival acts including Mànran and Laura Veirs giving free concerts for school-children across Scotland in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Principal Sponsors ScottishPower hosted the third ScottishPower Powerful Performance, giving winners St Ambrose High School the opportunity to perform at the festival.
Every year at Celtic Connections the cream of new musical talent perform at the Danny Kyle Open Stage. A diverse panel of judges – from industry stalwarts to members of the general public – then picked six winners from the eighty acts which took part. The Danny Kyle Open Stage 2012 winners – all of whom will perform a support slot at next year’s festival – Barluath, Realta, Rory Butler, Marit Fait & Rona Wilkie, The Black Diamond Express and Ben Church.
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:
“We’re delighted that this year’s Celtic Connections has been such a success - it’s an honour to be able to bring some of the world’s greatest folk, roots and traditional musicians to Glasgow. We encourage artists to embrace the festival spirit and try something new when they’re here, and I think we’ve witnessed some very special performances in our 19th year. We’re now very much looking forward to staging the Celtic Connections Big Top in Skye this March, when we’ll be joined by amazing acts like Rosanne Cash and The Civil Wars.”
Ann Loughrey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower, Celtic Connections’ Principal Sponsor, said:
“Celtic Connections continues to go from strength to strength, and ScottishPower is proud to have supported that growth over the past six years. ScottishPower is committed to supporting the arts in the UK through its sponsorship of Celtic Connections, as well as others, and we are pleased with the success of our Powerful Performance competition, which has been fantastic in encouraging young people and local communities to celebrate Scottish music, its Celtic traditions and heritage. This year’s winners, St Ambrose High School, delivered two spectacular performances at Celtic Connections and I am sure we will hear more from these talented youngsters in the future.”
Councillor George Redmond, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:
“Celtic Connections has brought some of the worlds finest musicians to the city of Glasgow over the past eighteen days. The festival has drawn people from around the globe to attend this internationally renowned event.
“This year, Glasgow Life and Celtic Connections brought a taste of the festival to thousands of school-children with an impressive Education and Outreach Programme. Celtic Connections is of immense value to Glasgow, economically and culturally, and we’re proud to say 2012 has been another successful year.”
Celtic Connections 2013 will run from Thursday 17 January to Sunday 3 February. The Celtic Connections Big Top takes place on the Isle of Skye on the 23 and 24 March.